Friday, January 23, 2009

How to pick a resume book

If it's resume writing time and you aren't sure what a professional's resume looks like--or in the case of librarians, you aren't sure if you're writing a resume or a CV--how do you pick a resume book that will have appropriate samples and advice?
  • There are generic resume writing books, which have samples for everything, and resume books that are specific to industry, sector or based on common career issues (a comeback mom or a career transitioner, for example). 
  • Good resume books have a good table of contents that describe the samples and what types of positions the resumes are to be matched with. Resumes should be targeted, so a generic job-seeker resume won't help most experienced job seekers. In the case of librarians, a good index can overcome the lack of a table of contents, but can frustrate clients who don't think about checking the index. No table of contents with listing by type of resume, or an index equals skip that book.
  • There are at least three different types of resume, and a wide range of types of career within a sector, or even an occupation, such as librarianship, so you want a wide-range of types of resume that shows different fonts, styles and layouts.
  • How sophisticated is the writer? If you are a poor writer who has run out of friends willing to write or rewrite your resume, you need a book with exact samples that match the position you are applying for. (But don't copy them exactly--that's cheating and dishonest, and the recruiter has probably seen that resume at least once before.) If you are more sophisticated writer, you need book that has samples, but which also explains the "rhetoric" of resume writing. Especially if you have to get over some prejudices against the resume writing style.
  • Before and after resume samples can help, but these are more helpful to sophisticated writers who understand what the problem is in their writing, but who want some suggestions on how to improve their resume.
  • If you're going to buy the book for your own collection, a chapter on cover letters, advice on emailing, formatting and laying out a resume, as well as advice on how to write in the resume style, such as how to write a solid highlights of qualification, should I include a job objective, when do I move my education below my work experience on my resume, should be included in the book that you purchase. I would also recommend, for librarians, that the book you buy has some CV samples, or advice on how to make a hybrid resume/CV.

You can apply this advice in your work life, since I am sure you will get the question, I need to write a resume, do you have any resume books? many times in your career.

Resume books reviewed:

Farr, M. (2007). Same day resume. Indianapolis, IN.: JIST Publishing.
Karsh, B., &  Pike, C. (2009). How to say it on your resume. New York: Prentice Hall.
Salvador, E. (2006). Step-by-step resumes. Indianapolis, IN.: JIST Publishing.

1 comment:

paul said...

This is Paul Anderson. I think we can get lots of information about resume.